Let’s Talk About My Gear

Okay, I’ve finally decided to sit down and talk about the gear I’ll be carrying. I’ve had to overhaul much of what I’m used to carrying, so it’s taken me a long time to get everything together. I’m not going to get into the minutiae of it, but I am going to cover the larger items that I’m carrying. You know, the big three, and then a few of the essentials I’ll have in my pack.

The Big Three

Of course, the big three always refers to your shelter, your sleeping system, and your backpack. For me, about half of all of these things are new. They’re items that I haven’t used out on the trail (yet), and that’s as exciting as it is nerve-racking. Don’t get me wrong, I love new gear, but it isn’t always the most cooperative.

My Shelter

For my shelter, I’m using a Six Moon Designs Skyscape Scout. This is a fairly lightweight trekking pole tent, and I’m confident in using it. It’s large enough to be comfortable, especially since I’m not too tall (I’m about 5’9” if you’re wondering). I’ve used a few trekking pole tents, but this is the one I’ve decided on for this hike. The trekking poles I’ll be using are the ones offered by River Country Products. They’re not the lightest poles available, but they’re definitely durable.

My Sleeping System

This is the part of my gear that I’ve been the most worried about. Thankfully, I’ve dialed in what I’ll be using. It might be a bit excessive, but I’m not worried about the weight as much as I am the cold, so carrying heavy doesn’t bother me too much. I’ll be bringing a Gear Doctors ApolloAir Sleeping Pad, as well as an Ozark Trail foam pad. My quilt is a 20-degree Enlightened Equipment Revelation, and I’ve grabbed a Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Extreme. This should cover everything that I need to feel comfortable, apart from clothes, of course.

My Backpack

I touched on this in my last post, but after realizing my 50L Osprey pack was too small, I grabbed a Kelty Coyote 85L. This bag is big. I can comfortably fit just about anything in it that I want. I’m now hyper-aware about overpacking the bag, but I’m happy to have the wiggle room. It’s going to make things a lot easier in the long run, especially if I decide to skip resupplies and carry all of my food from the beginning.

My bag filled with pretty much everything on my gear list, and then some! It’s got plenty of space.

Other Items You Might Be Wondering About

The big three is only a fraction of all of the gear that’s carried by hikers, of course. There are a few other things that I’ll be carrying in terms of gear. I might leave out a few things, but chances are that they aren’t that important.

My Cooking System

For food, I’m going the route of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods. I’ve got a Fire Maple X3 cooking system that I’ll be using to boil water to add to my freeze-dried meals. Along with the Fire Maple I’ll have my handy titanium spork. I’ll be bringing along meals that I’ve dehydrated on my own, using mostly couscous and rice noodles. I haven’t finished the menu entirely yet, but I’m getting there. I’ll probably post about it in the coming weeks as I get the recipes dialed in. Oh! And I’m bringing a cup for coffee, of course. It’s an old camping cup that’ll be dangling from my bag.

I’m going to bundle my water supplies here, too, since they seem to fit. I’m bringing along a Nalgene and an MSR TrailShot, as well as some water purification tablets, just in case. I could boil water as a backup for the TrailShot, but I’d rather not waste fuel if I can help it.

My Apparel

When it comes to clothes, I’ve always kind of been as cheap as possible. I’ve got some no-name hiking pants and some moisture-wicking shirts. I’m bringing along a fleece layer from Columbia, as well as a Decathlon puffy. I’ve got a rain jacket, too, just in case we get some bad weather. For sleeping, I’ve got wool base layers that are going to only be utilized for sleeping. My partner is currently making me a wool hat, too, so that’s going to come in handy on cold nights! I don’t know if it fits in here, but I’ve got a headlamp that I’m bringing, too, just in case I’ve got to get up in the middle of the night.

My Footwear

Like many other hikers, I’ll be wearing trail runners. They’re the most comfortable option, of course, and I’ve been doing all of my hiking in trail runners for around a year now. I’ve got freakishly wide and short feet, so I’m wearing some New Balance trail runners. They’re extra wide, and my feet feel great no matter how many miles I hike in them. For socks I’ve got Darn Toughs, which seem to be pretty popular, too. I know I love them.

My Luxuries

I don’t hike with too many luxuries, to be honest. For this hike, though, I’ll be bringing along a pocket tripod and a camera, as well as a battery that’s got a solar cell on it. I’ve tested it out and it seems to work alright. I’m not going to have many, if any, places to recharge a phone or my camera, so I’d rather have a larger battery to be on the safe side. A pocket journal and a pen are coming with me, too, so that I can jot thoughts down while I’m on the trail.

My First Aid

I’ve got a small first aid kit that I’ll be bringing along. Because of my past injuries, I’m also bringing along a knee brace and an ankle brace. I’ve never had to use any of these items on any hikes in the past, or any overnighters, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.

Well, I think that just about covers it! I can’t think of anything else that’s going to be coming along with me. This post feels more like a wall of text to me than anything, but it’s been nice writing it. It’s helped me catalog all of the things I’m going to be bringing along.

A bonus shot from my last day hike.

I’m exactly three weeks away from departure, and I can hardly sit still. I’m ready to be on the trail! These next 21 days can’t pass fast enough.

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Comments 4

  • pearwood : Jan 12th

    I have never, ever regretted having a small pair of pliers. On more than one occasion I have kicked myself for not having them.

    • Zach Maxon : Jan 12th

      That’s an excellent suggestion, and an oversight on my part! I’ve got a pretty handy multitool that I can bring along – similar to a Leatherman but not as pricey. I’ll be sure to pack that along, too. Thanks Pearwood!

  • Howard moore : Jan 14th

    When we thru hiked for the first time, we found that a useful measure of when to eliminate something from our stuff was when we started to refer to it as that god damned thing.

    • Zach Maxon : Jan 14th

      That definitely seems like a good way of doing it, ha! I’m sure I’ll have a good amount of god damned things after being unable to drop off unnecessary gear for an entire month. Let’s hope there aren’t too many, though.


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